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Cascara Sagrada / Rhamnus purshiana / Cascara Buckthorn / Chittembark / Sacred Bark
Cascara Sagrada / Rhamnus purshiana / Cascara Buckthorn / Chittembark / Sacred Bark

Cascara Sagrada / Rhamnus purshiana / Cascara Buckthorn / Chittembark / Sacred Bark



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Cascara Sagrada General Information
Cascara Sagrada Uses & Scientific Evidence For
Cascara Sagrada Dosage Information
Cascara Sagrada Safety & Interaction Information

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Cascara Sagrada General Information
Northern California Indians introduced this herb, Cascara Sagrada, which means “sacred bark” to 16th century Spanish explorers. It is the dried, aged bark of a tree that grows 20 to 30 feet and is native to the Pacific Northwest. It has green or yellow-green elliptical, fine-toothed leaves and greenish-white flowers that turn into round black fruits (the berries are poisonous). For hundreds of years, Native American groups used Cascara Sagrada as a laxative; however, it was not introduced into formal medical practice in the United States until 1877 and has been listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia since 1890. Parke-Davis is the pharmaceutical company that first used Cascara Sagrada commercially.

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Cascara Sagrada Uses & Scientific Evidence For
The bark is aged for a year (a year minimum) so the active principles become milder. Freshly dried bark produces too strong a laxative to use safely. The honey made from the flowers has a slight laxative effect. Cascara Sagrada also contains a compound that induces vomiting. This herb is related to alder buckthorn and buckthorn but Cascara Sagrada’s laxative effects are milder. Dried and aged Cascara Sagrada BarkCascara Sagrada bark is recommended by Germany’s Commission E as a mild and effective treatment for chronic constipation and is especially useful as a mild laxative for elderly people or for those with fragile health. Cascara Sagrada bark is used for constipation where a stimulant laxative is required. It is also used for colitis, digestive complaints, hemorrhoids, liver problems and jaundice. The bark contains anthraquinones (cascarosides A and B), which are transformed by intestinal bacteria into substances that increase peristalsis in the large intestine and help restore its tone. The bark is rich in hormone like oils that promote peristaltic action (contractions) in the intestinal canal and is considered excellent for cleaning and detoxifying programs. It is also used as a colon cleanser and for eliminating parasitic infestation.

There is preliminary research that shows that Cascara Sagrada might be useful as an antiviral that could be effective against herpes simplex virus II and vaccinia virus.

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Cascara Sagrada Dosage Information
Cascara Sagrada comes in various forms and is a key ingredient in many commercial laxatives. It is important to used products that contain dried aged bark. For using a tincture, take 1-5 ml per day and drink eight 6 ounce glasses of water throughout the day as well. Cascara Sagrada should be taken for a maximum of eight to ten days. For other formulations, read and follow product label directions.

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Cascara Sagrada Safety & Interaction Information
If you have chronic constipation, consult with your doctor to avoid becoming laxative dependent. It should not be used to treat constipation resulting from excessive tension of the colon wall. Do not use if you have an intestinal obstruction. If you are pregnant or nursing, do not use this herb without the supervision of your physician. Exceeding the recommended doses, or the duration of use can cause a loss of electrolytes, especially potassium, which can lead to serious and even deadly consequences. Recent reports indicate that Cascara can decrease the absorption of certain drugs. Ask your Doctor/Pharmacist for more info concerning the drugs you use. Extended use can also weaken the colon. Use only the dried bark that been stored for at least a year as the fresh bark is violently purgative. Do not eat the berries for they are poisonous.

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